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Army Corps of Engineers

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

One of the biggest fears during any earthquake is that the movement could damage major infrastructure. The recent Ridgecrest earthquakes jolted less than 50 miles away from Lake Isabella, where the Isabella Dam is in the midst of a $600 million improvement project by the US Army Corps of Engineers. How did the dam fare during the earthquakes, and how much longer until the upgrades will be complete? We sat down for an update with Army Corps project manager Anthony Burdock.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Thanks to the rapidly melting snowpack, Pine Flat Reservoir on the Kings River east of Fresno is now expected to exceed 100% of its capacity. But water managers aren’t too worried.

Due in part to the extreme heat, estimates of the snowmelt flowing into the Pine Flat Lake were off by about 200,000 acre feet. As of Friday afternoon, the reservoir is just a few inches away from being completely full.

But with more water coming in from the High Sierra, dam engineers have a backup plan.

US Army Corps of Engineers

When Isabella Dam was built back in the 1950’s northeast of Bakersfield it was hailed as a great engineering achievement. The structure held back the mighty Kern River to provide water for farmers and communities, and helped protect the Southern San Joaquin Valley from floods.